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Happy 2008! (a few days late) January 4, 2008

Posted by abi in blogging, just for fun, life.
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Me and my second cousin at a Birthday/Christmas party for my Dad Happy 2008!

Hope everyone had a great holiday season. I had a good time of relaxing, sleeping late, hanging out with family, friends, and the boyfriend.

I know I’m late in posting holiday greetings and haven’t had anything up here in a while. I can’t even say that December was any crazier busy than usual….I just think I needed to take some time off to relax and refocus. I didn’t do or have a lot planned for the youth group and they were all pretty busy anyway – so it worked out well to take a short break. Now I’ve got to get back in gear!

The family (and attachments) a few days before Christmas

Annual Family Christmas Movie and Dinner
(and we celebrated my brother-in-law’s birthday)

Original artwork

Here’s a pic of an original painting I just finished on Dec. 30th.

My friend, Tiffany, commissioned me to do this painting as a Christmas present for her boyfriend (who happens to be my “adopted” red-headed brother, Steve). Tiffany asked if I would do it way back in May, and I said that I would love to and thought I would have plenty of time over the summer to paint….well that didn’t ever happen….so as usual, I work best under pressure and I just barely got it done in time for their gift exchanging on New Year’s eve. I am not so good at cityscapes, but that was Tiffany’s only idea/request of subject matter – something Baltimore. So I decided to do a impressionistic view of the pub where we hang out most Wednesday nights down in Fells Point. I couldn’t resist adding Steve and Tiffany in the front….

He liked it. Tiffany was happy. It was fun to do and fun to get paid to paint (usually I give paintings away as gifts).

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happy birthday to me and Alejandra! November 15, 2007

Posted by abi in blogging, life.
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Today is my birthday – I am now 28 and getting closer and closer to 30. But I’m not too upset about it…it’s been a good year and I am happy with where I am in life for the most part. Today my mom and little brother are going to come and have lunch with me. Tonight I’ve got my Bible study and will have a good time with the girls there. I already had the big friends party last Saturday night and it was great to be able to catch up with a lot of friends there. I am truly blessed to have so many awesome friends who are there for me.

Today I’m not only celebrating my birthday, but I’m also celebrating the birthday of my sponsored child, Alejandra, who lives in Honduras. She is turning 4 years old today. My family had always sponsored children while I was growing up and I had wanted to for a while – but with college and being a broke student for so long, I wanted to wait until I could really afford to sponsor a kid on a consistent basis. This summer a blog that I read regularly reminded me of that desire to sponsor a child and I realized that I am definately in a more stable place and can and should be giving more to people in need.  Immediately after reading Carolyn’s blogpost, I went over to Compassion International’s website to check into it more….and Alejandra was the girl who first popped up in the “sponsor me” section.  She was absolutely adorable and when I saw that she and I shared a birthday, I knew it was a God-thing and I signed up to sponsor her.  I just got my first letter from her yesterday.  It was actually her mom, Jenny, writing to me about Alejandra and Alejandra drew a picture on the back.  It totally made my day to think that I could impact a family in such a huge way – when I’m really only sacrificing a very small amount of money each month.   If anyone out there is thinking about sponsoring a child – I would definately encourage you to do it today or as soon as you are able. 

Happy Birthday Alejandra!

I support Compassion. Sponsor a child today!

it’s friday! October 12, 2007

Posted by abi in blogging, life, youth ministry.
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and I’m heading off to our Presbytery’s middle school retreat.  It was a lot of fun last year and neat to get to know people from other churches.   I think it will be a good time, I’m just struggling right now becuase I’m so busy – it’s hard to give up this whole weekend and be away….but oh well.  I’m sure I’ll come back glad that I went and also glad for the opportunity to get to know some of my middle schoolers better.  One of my goals is to figure out how to tell the indentical twin sisters apart (I have always felt so bad not knowing who is who – especially since I usually forget even when they tell me!).  Another goal is not to break my foot this year!  Capture the flag there is brutal….

Thanks to Tim Schmoyer for posting my crazy game on his blog yesterday!  His blog is a great resource for youth ministry peeps – check it out at: http://timschmoyer.com/2007/10/10/favorite-youth-group-games-chuck-the-chicken/

I got a rubber chicken at a Christmas party playing the Yankee Trader game and figured it would be great for youth stuff.  I saw that game idea somewhere and was pretty sure it would flop, but tried it anyway.  We modified it slightly to what is posted on Tim’s blog, and now “Chuck the chicken”  has turned into one of my students favorite games!   

thoughts for fall…. October 1, 2007

Posted by abi in blogging, life, ministry.
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I can’t believe that it is already the first of October!  Crazy!  September has been a busy month – but a really good one.  And since someone recently told me that I don’t update my blog often enough, I thought I’d try and fill anyone reading in on what all I’ve been up to lately. 

I am actually really liking my full-time job at the engineering firm in Columbia.  The people are a lot of fun to work with and I get along well with my boss and our office director.  And they like me and are happy with what I’m doing here – which is always good to know.   It’s not hard or stressful work, but keeps me busy (and I still have a little time to email and check facebook throughout the day which is added bonus!).  And I have an hour for lunch!  I’ve never had a break that long and it really helps break up the day – I have time to run errands, eat lunch outside and read a little, or schedule lunch with friends (its been fun to have the boyfriend stop off once a week and have lunch with me when he’s on his way back from seminary classes in DC).  So work is good. 

 I’m still doing the part-time thing as the Youth Ministry Coordinator – and am absolutely loving it!!!  It’s honestly my dream job…or would be if it was full-time…but other than that, I feel so incredibly blessed that God has be serving with this church and their youth.  We have started back up for the fall and I have changed some things this year.  Last year I tried not to come in and change much at all, just observe, learn how and what needed doing, and get to know everyone.  I requested an evaluation in May with my senior pastor and we discussed what I had learned throughout the year and what directions I saw God leading the group.  So now has been the beginning of executing my new goals and new plans for the group….and so far, the response has been incredible!  We are having a lot more youth show up to both events and Bible study…and they are bringing friends!  I’ve had quite a few first-time visitors and a few of them have already returned and want to become a part of the group.  It’s awesome to see how God is working in their lives.  I have already seen “lightbulbs” going off all over the place within the context of learning/understanding more about their faith and how to really live it out. 

 Aside from keeping too busy with both jobs, I’ve started an aerobics class (which is pretty hardcore….but gives me a good feeling of having really pushed my body hard) and am still trying to get to the gym fairly regularly – trying being the imperative word, as I have been slacking a little too much lately and only going once of twice a week.  I still attend/lead a Bible study every week with other gals in our twenties/thirties  and that is always a good place of refuge and place for me to just be and grow spiritually – we’ve been together as a group for 2 years now!  My family is crazy busy, but we are trying to plan to get together once a month or so for people’s birthdays or whatever.  It keeps getting harder and harder for us all to connect though….I tend to be the planner and make sure that it happens and everyone knows the details.  Chalk it up to the oldest child personality in me I guess.  It’s great to have my sister Katie back in town, but she’s been in my prayers a lot lately as she’s had a rough summer and is now still struggling to find her way.  Boyfriend is still doing well – we have now been dating 3 months and he made me dinner the other night to celebrate.  We’re still figuring it all out, but I’m enjoying it and looking forward to continuing to get to know him better as I see him in different situations and places this fall. 

Abigail – my hero August 21, 2007

Posted by abi in blogging, just for fun, life.
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I recently read an old blog written by Carolyn McCulley called  Abigail’s Initiative and thought it was worth sharing on here since its about me!  No, not really – but it is about my namesake – Abigail.  I have always loved the story of found in the Bible, 1 Sam. 25 and hope that I follow her example of being a bold, yet humble woman who is following God so whole-heartedly. 

January 15, 2007

Abigail’s Initiative

Fairy tales often portray femininity as a passive concept: Sleeping Beauty is unconscious until kissed; Cinderella is miserable until a fairy godmother appears; Rapunzel is imprisoned with her flowing locks until she is rescued. But that passivity is not what we see of women in the Bible, and Abigail the Carmelitess is one of my favorite examples. We find the account of her wise initiative in 1 Samuel 25.

Abigail is described in verse three as being “intelligent and beautiful.” That order is important because it’s her intelligence and initiative that are on display in this account. Her beauty is secondary.

Abigail was the wife of a very wealthy man who is called Nabal, which means “fool.” Nabal was very rich, owning 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. When David and his men were living in the wilderness of Paran after the death of Samuel, they took it upon themselves to protect these herds from attacks by wild animals or raiders. According to the IVP Bible Background Commentary on the Old Testament, sheep shearing was a festival time when a count of the sheep would be taken and rewards would be given to the shepherds. David’s message to Nabal is a claim for a portion of that compensation. But Nabal spurns the request and insults David, instead, saying, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?” This commentary notes that Carmel, Nabal’s town, was taken from the Amalekites by Saul, and therefore it’s not entirely surprising that a Carmelite resident would be loyal to Saul and question who David was. However, David’s fame was widespread so Nabal’s unwillingness to do what was requested was no doubt motivated by other reasons, perhaps greed or pride.

Stockxpertcom_id183912_size1 Abigail, on the other hand, must have had a reputation for wisdom because one of Nabal’s shepherds comes to her and reports all that has happened, as though he expects her intervention. Her husband had listed bread, water, and meat as the rewards for his shearers, so Abigail loads her donkeys with what must have been some of these prepared rewards–200 loaves of bread, two jugs of wine, five prepared sheep, five measures of roasted grain (about a bushel), 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 cakes of figs. Then she rides out to meet David.

As Abigail encounters him, she gets off of her donkey and bows low before David. Her persuasive speech reminds David of God’s work in his life, God’s standards for shedding blood, and the promises of the Lord for David’s future. Her bold appeal calls David to a higher standard–and he hears her out. In fact, he blesses her for it.

“Now since the LORD has kept you, my master, from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, may your enemies and all who intend to harm my master be like Nabal. And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my master, be given to the men who follow you. Please forgive your servant’s offense, for the LORD will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my master, because he fights the LORD’s battles. Let no wrongdoing be found in you as long as you live. Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. When the LORD has done for my master every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel, my master will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the LORD has brought my master success, remember your servant.”

David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.” (1 Samuel 25:26-34 NIV).

Abigail models for us a pattern of initiative that honors God and blesses others. She didn’t appeal to David for some vague sense of personal obligation. She did not trade on her physical charms to distract him. She did not emotionally manipulate him or throw a diva fit herself. What she did was honor him with a symbol of respect (bowing low) and then point him to God’s promises. She appeals to him to avoid doing anything to jeopardize his future or throne or, more importantly, violate God’s standards. Not only does she show us what wise communication looks like (a topic we’ll explore in further posts), she also shows us that godly women are called to know the Lord and His Word, to take action to right wrongs, and to inspire men to be godly themselves. She is direct but humble, clear but gracious, and bold yet feminine.

The immediate result is that David praises the Lord for her and blesses her for her judgment (a word translated as “discernment” in the NAS and “discretion” in the ESV). And the long-term result is that after she is widowed, David marries Abigail. I believe he appreciated what a valuable helpmate she would be.

better at blogging… January 29, 2007

Posted by abi in blogging.
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so I am switching to WordPress – let’s see if that helps my blogging any.  I like the idea of blogging and would like to do more of it…I just haven’t done much in quite a while.  I like change, so maybe this change will help.  Just in case anyone was interested, my old blog was: http://abigaillauren.blogspot.com